No protests as euthanasia seminar goes ahead

THE euthanasia advocate nicknamed ‘Dr Death’ expounded his theories on voluntary suicide in Dublin yesterday, with expected protesters nowhere to be seen and the meeting instead soundtracked, occasionally, by laughter.

The director of Exit International Dr Philip Nitschke held the free-entry session in Seomra Spraoi in Dublin’s inner city yesterday afternoon, the small communal building the fifth venue designated for the session and follow-up workshop, after the first four pulled out of hosting the event.

The Australian, wrapped in a thick, colourful scarf, told the crowd of about 50, mostly elderly, people: “If you are well enough to come to a meeting like this, you are well enough to plan ahead.”

He was referring to an “end of life plan”, which he said anyone planning on ending their life should consider. As he spoke, many people listened attentively, took notes or recorded proceedings.

Protests were expected given the difficulty in securing a venue for the talk, which was followed by what Dr Nitschke called a “practical workshop”, and the concerns voiced by a number of pro-life groups in advance of the meeting.

The Life Institute had appealed to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern to ban the meeting under Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993, while Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign said Dr Nitschke’s visit was “a publicity stunt”.

Fine Gael’s spokesman on mental health Dan Neville said euthanasia and assisted suicide will be debated, but added: “There are serious societal reasons for disallowing euthanasia.”

When at one stage in yesterday’s presentation the soundtrack to a clip failed to work, someone joked: “Are you sure you could organise a good suicide?”

Speaking ahead of yesterday afternoon’s meeting, Dr Nitschke, an Australian, said it was “almost certain” that his group would hold more workshops in Dublin and Belfast before the end of this year.

“We will be left with an embryonic group of people here who want these issues debated,” he said, adding that in his view “forces of darkness” had been behind the difficulties in securing venue.

Some who sat listening to him yesterday may agree; many others would not.

More in this section

Price info
IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.